Enhancing the role of women in climate adaptation

Last week, I was excited to participate in the closing event of FLOW/EOWE (Gender-responsive and Climate-smart agriculture holistic intervention).

The initiative focused on enhancing the role of women in agriculture production in four provinces in Vietnam, namely Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh and Quang Binh.

This is a five-year project implemented in disaster-prone areas with a high gender gap and inequality. It has 3 key pillars: business improvement, gender equality transformation and leveraging policy frameworks. The success of the project is dependent on the involvement of people from all levels of local government, women’s unions and cooperatives. The goal is to help people adapt to climate change in vulnerable areas in a gender-responsive way.  

While visiting the project, I was impressed with the energy and passion of Cham ethnic minority women who not only excelled at taking care of their families but were also very adept in agricultural production. Some of these women used to be very timid and dependent on their husbands, and never dared speak up. Thanks to the FLOW project, more female-led cooperatives have been established allowing women to help each other grow. The FLOW project also had an impact on changing men’s behaviours, encouraging them to share housework with their wives so that they can share the load of working and building a family together.

Vietnam is one of the most climate change vulnerable countries in the world and women and children are mostly affected. Women traditionally spend most of their time working on farms and cooking nutritious foods for their families. More gender equality means more women are educated, empowered to lead cooperatives and businesses. They have the power to speak up and make a decision, have better access to information, technology and policies. As a result, they are more prepared to adapt to climate change and develop disaster resilience.

The Dutch Fund for Climate Development (DFCD) is a climate adaptation fund. One of the key factors for developing an investment proposal is to consider how the project could empower women, how many jobs it creates and how many people will benefit from it. The hope is that these initatives will help narrow economic, education, health and political gaps that have been in place for many years.

This is a situation that cannot be changed immediately but through time and projects, people’s awareness will be raised. In turn, provide more opportunities for women to become empowered and have access to land, finance, information and education.

Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Women have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to come up with practical solutions. But they are still a largely untapped resource.

Through FLOW, DFCD and similar initiatives, we hope to improve gender balance and help women to no longer be an untapped resource but put their power and energy into climate change adaptation.

About the author: 

Yen Nguyen, is a Junior Business Development Officer for the DFCD. The DFCD enables private sector investment in projects aimed at climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. To learn more about this fund, visit theDFCD site.